Never Give up


Tap does not mean you give up.

Not returning to the mat and putting your gi in storage is how you give up.

Keepitplayful and that day may never come.



About KeepItPlayful

I keep it playful for a living.
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28 Responses to Never Give up

  1. nitrojj says:

    I’m not giving up, I’m starting the Master Cycle this week. I’m looking forward to it. Respect.

  2. Adam nick says:

    Well said. Never be for have I followed a blog. I appreciate your writings a great deal and the consideration for insight and philosophy. Thank you for another opportunity to feel connection to the art.

  3. Fill says:

    will be posting this all over the intertubes.

  4. Alex says:

    Ryron, that’s what I do every week as an older white belt. The taps keep coming, but I try and learn from them, and always keep it playful. I was able to defend an arm bar against a blue belt last weekend during a roll using a technique from the blue belt stripe 2, Lesson 16 arm lock counters lesson – so thanks to you and Rener! Of course he locked in the choke not long after that – but I was pumped to have defended the arm bar!

  5. Great words Ryron, this attitude could save beginners so much frustration at the start of their training.

  6. Matt K says:

    Great Advice Ryron. I am a new white belt, but have a background of several years in Aikido. My take may be a little different than some students, but I actually like tapping (when I roll in class). I COULD probably be on my back or even in a mount or side mount and focus on simply not being submitted, which at my skill level means I would be moving less and trying to stay in a safe position–focusing on holding my partner still, etc. OR, I could experiment, move, try more escapes or submissions if I see one, and most of the time end up get choked or submitted myself. I prefer to try things and get submitted because I think you can learn almost equally well from having the technique applied to you as you do applying it to someone. I am starting to catch myself before I make some of the mistakes I used to make, and now my training partners are forced to do something else to get me. I really couldn’t agree more with what you said. Thanks and God Bless.

  7. Alex Einspruch says:

    Ryron- I’d LOVE some advice from you. Sorry for the long post. I’m 15 months into my BJJ journey. I am a 42 yr old lifelong fitness freak, and now a 4 stripe white belt. BJJ is perfect for me. Fun, fitness, self defense, and I’m not in a gym weightlifting anymore. My problem is I am finding my interest in BJJ waning suddenly. Admittedly, I have overtrained and injured myself trying to rush the process of belt advancement. I have gone 90-100% for double workouts almost daily. I’ve held back on the tap to prove I can escape and prevail -and now my elbows are now a mess. I’m facing burnout, and I was so in love with this sport when I started….now it’s just a “fight” to get through all the sparring and nagging injuries. I feel like I threw everything I had at BJJ and I just stood still skill-wise. Once I heard your philosophy of Keeping It Playful, it was like the missing ingredient in my BJJ journey suddenly existed. The lightbulb went on…..I have ALWAYS wanted to keep it playful and work from inferior positions/defense first; so how do I not kill myself in workouts and help spread the word amongst my team and at my school? Keeping it playful is why I am a BJJ practitioner. It is the essence of why BJJ is fun for me. Why don’t people respect intensity levels, and goals other than winning trophies, and tapping people? Our team is very competition/sparring oriented and my school is down the street. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I want to be rolling for the next 30 years, but if it’s not playful I won’t last. Short of moving to California to train with you guys, how do I pursue this goal and reel myself back in when it starts to become boring, painful, work?

    KIP has really been an inspiration for me to pick myself up and keep going, so thanks for championing it and spreading the word.

    Please come to Dallas!



    • Alex, I am sure that when you roll with your training partners that are all about the victory with a keep it playful approach you will start to see tremendous improvement in your game. 80% of the time that you spar I suggest you defend for the first 30-45 seconds in any position and then allow yourself to be caught in a submission. When caught it is a good idea to try to escape safely with tapping quickly as an option. you cannot keepitplayful unless you are ready to yell tap and tap quick. You should expect yourself to get tapped 80 % of the time that you let yourself get deep into a submission. Remember that getting out of the submission is not the important part, but instead how your partner landed the sub. what steps did they take and with enough practice you will be a master at seeing submission and their set ups.

      Instead of looking to catch a submission to make your day
      You will become fascinated at how frustrated people get when you are in no hurry to go anywhere. no hurry to pass, no hurry to escape the bottom.
      Instead you are in pursuit of knowing what can happen and when it can happen.

      keep in mind that if you do this too often and too successfully that people are not able to tap you anymore they will get very frustrated and possibly not want to roll with you, so give them a bone once in a while and let the win :)The last thing anyone wants is that you get toooooo good.

      • Alex Einspruch says:

        This is GREAT advice because I feel I know how to defend pretty damn well! At some point this Fall I began to get in a hurry to be on offense for a change, instead of continuing my defending and/or recognizing instantly what transpired to get submitted. I’ll tap faster, I promise. Thanks!!! This is very validating and should be fun to frustrate the tournaments are everything crowd……keep up the good work!

  8. Carlos says:

    Hello Ryron, i been training for almost 8 months now, and i been following all the principles as much as I can, i have notice that a lot of people in my academy, specially because it’s sports focused use a lot of force , but i been keeping playful and i have notice that i can learn better when i get submit because i’m aware of what is happening,also i’m definding a lot better and i can move in a better way when i’m attacking , very power full principles man , thank you very much, I’m willing to hear more from you soon Master!!!

  9. Spencer R says:

    Dear Ryron,

    I am currently studying to teach this wonderful art in the ICP program. If you think it still applies, please share how I can integrate the Keep it Playful mindset into my studies. Thank you for your insight!

    • The whole concept is to give you more comfort. If you are going through the icp you want to be as good as you can be. Flow spar everyday and keep the scientist mindset

  10. Michael says:

    Hello Ryron,

    But what about when you roll with a more inexperienced guy and he has much more strength than you do? I’ve been training BJJ for 1 year and 6 months, and whenever I roll with some guys (lets say, 5 or 6 months of training/less hour per week than me), I have to put all my strength in, else I can’t hold positions or they just take my arm and do whatever they want with it.

    Is it okay to get tapped by a more inexperienced guy than you? I mean, me, white + 4 stripes, is it okay to get tapped by a white with 1 stripe? What will happen if I will become blue and get tapped by a white with 2 stripes? It feels that all my training is just wasted, because in theory I should have more technique, but the strength prevails and I can’t keep it playful else I will get tapped over and over again by less technical guys with more strength. Maybe you can make a post on this, it would be of great help…


    • Very interesting. As for getting tapped by less experienced guys I believe that you should not go 100% but instead go 60 % and learn what they have up their sleeve. Of course is someone is much stronger and heavier it is okay if they defeat you. The important thing is that you learn how they are defeating you and study it. Most likely they are over powering you because your technique is not where it has to be to keep you safe. I will look into writing something up on this. Thanks for the idea. Give it time and patience your level of understanding will only grow.

  11. Rick Torres says:

    This week marks the one year anniversary of my knee reconstruction from an ACL-MCL tear. We have all heard many times through ESPN and the news how much of a “season ending injury” this can be for most professional athletes.In some cases a torn ACL-MCL can actually be career ending. At age 53 IM FAR FROM A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE so my concerns were many when it initially happened. So I immediately had to cancel all classes and consider closing the dojo. I was the sole instructor at my school at the time. Many of my students reacted, quickly asking me to try and stay open and many volunteered to keep things going until I was able to hop around and be there for classes. After surgery, I followed my Dr’s orders to the tee and began a long rehab. My Dr warned me that having any setbacks or re-injuring the knee at my age would be TERRIBLE.

    Along came Ryron and his “Keep it Playful” Seminar Tour. Most of my students could be seen nodding in affirmation as Ryron spoke about “Keeping it playful”, I returned to the mat in an EXTREMELY PLAYFUL mode after 8 months. I have only a few select people to train with who understood my situation and really gave of themselves. When I just couldn’t do certain a move or position on the mat I would alert them, they would STOP and we found a way to keep training. Consider this: cant bend your knee without pain, cant posture in guard, cant use open guard, cant hold closed guard, no strength in triangle, no lateral movement…why was I on the mat? The answer is: BECAUSE I NEEDED IT. But the real reason is that many were folks counting on me. Im blessed with great friends and students who have done their best to “Baby Me” on the mat by adopting the “Keep it Playful” mindset.

    In closing the “Keep it playful” mindset was crucial to both my mental health and the physical rehabilitation of my knee. Seeing my students embrace the mindset kept me in the game. Been a year now since surgery, time to start pushing the limits a bit. THANK YOU RYRON

    • Expect nothing and praise everything! This applies even to yourself. Even the lightest /smallest amount of jiu-jitsu training is amazing! keep up the great work my brother.

  12. Mike says:


    I have read through many of the comments to this post, and I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in the frustrations that I feel during training.The number of people in my area who are interested in learning a martial art are very few. As a result, I have one regular training partner. This partner is skilled, but relies far to heavily on out muscling an opponent and forcing a submission. I often find myself falling into this same mentality as a result. We often end up in positions where no one is moving at all, and we both waste a ton of energy and learn very little.

    After reading about your keep it playful philosophy, I realize that I need to let go from time to time ,allow a sweep , pass, or submission, and simply keep moving. Because then I will find openings and opportunities while I learn and have fun.

    I greatly enjoy reading your philosophies and hope to one day meet you and your brothers, and train with you in Torrance.

  13. Cliff says:

    TAP- Technique Applied Properly
    Thank you for taking the time to do this blog. I never had the honor of meeting your grandfather however I believe I am learning from him every time you share your wisdom.

    With that being said, I think the problem is that our ego looks at the individual who is tapping you rather than looking at how effective the techniques are when applied properly.

    I went from being a black belt in karate to a white belt in jiu jitsu and the hardest part was letting go of the ego and getting tapped. Only recently have i learned that lesson. You see, I gave up on jiu jitsu as the school i went to was competition based and sparring at 100% all the time. Usually injured, usually frustrated and always questioning the technique and thinking I wouldn’t be getting tapped if i could just punch you in the face. I made great friendships, i got in great shape but reluctantly walked away disillusioned.

    Disillusioned from training karate since age 4 and feeling that all those years of training were obsolete and then feeling that jiu jitsu was a young guys sport. I am now 40 and just recently came upon and purchased Gracie Combatives, WOW now it all makes sense. I was mad at first because had i had this knowledge before….let me stop there because i heard someone ask you in an interview if you could go back what you would wish you could know then that you know now. You said you believe that you get the information when you are supposed to receive it. (DANG so major)

    I have been a martial artist my whole life, trained with many so called “masters” so i know from experience what bullcrap looks like. Although we haven’t met (yet) I consider you my instructor and hope to one day share the mat with you. I can only echo what all others have said so far THANK YOU RYRON!


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